Alex Saric is Chief Marketing Officer at Ivalua and has spent over 17 years of his career evangelizing Spend Management, shaping its evolution and working closely with hundreds of customers to support their Digital Transformation journeys. As CMO, Alex leads overall marketing strategy and thought leadership programs. At SIG's Eastern Regional SIGnature event on September 12, Alex will show you how to map a path that allows you to rapidly progress to best-in-class procurement to establish a competitive advantage in your company. He began his career in the U.S. Army Cavalry, leading tank and scout platoons through two combat deployments. Alex holds a B.S. in Economics from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an international M.B.A. from INSEAD.
How should success be defined when it comes to digital transformation?
The temptation, and what we see most often today, is viewing it as performance on a set of metric benchmarks. Falling in the top quartile or top 20% of metrics, like percent under management and a level of touchless invoicing can qualify companies as best-in-class, which is often viewed as a success. These metrics are good to track and work toward, but they should be interim objectives on a longer journey. If those are your goals, you are on a path to mediocrity, not toward being a strategic value driver.
Over a career spanning more than 30 years, Steve has held senior procurement and operations positions with large and small, public and private, and for-profit as well as non-profit organizations. He joined College Board in 2016 after serving as Vice President of Global Sourcing at National Geographic Society, and prior to that, as Vice President of Supply Chain Management at Vertis Communications, a national printer of advertising circulars and direct mail promotions. Hughes started his purchasing career at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City following five years of military service as a U.S. Army officer at Fort Bragg, NC with the 82nd Airborne Division, where he completed 40 military parachute jumps.
What are some examples of the challenges and rewards you experience as CPO of the College Board?
As a CPO, the perception in most organizations I have been a part of is that Procurement is a bureaucratic bottleneck which stakeholders try to go around or engage only as necessary to get tactical transactions processed. The challenge I have faced over and over again, including at the College Board, is transforming the way all levels of the organization think about the procurement function from being a shared services cost center to a strategic resource for the organization that optimizes the value we receive from our supply chain.
While there are rewards in seeing an organization gradually change it perceptions of the procurement function, the greatest reward is the privilege of developing a team of procurement professionals who ultimately make that transformation happen through their efforts to build collaborative relationships with stakeholders.
New technology, competitive drive and the desire to upend the status quo to influence innovation and enhance value are important characteristics for sourcing and procurement professionals in today’s world. As the digital transformation continues to accelerate at an unprecedented and exciting pace, SIG wants to recognize the change makers, movers and shakers who show innovation, leadership and transformation in areas critical to the sourcing industry.
This week, SIG announced the finalists for the second annual Future of Sourcing Awards taking place at the Fall Global Executive Summit in Carlsbad, California, on October 16. A panel of senior executives judged nominees in eight team categories and two individual categories. The teams and individuals listed below demonstrated ingenuity, initiative and innovation and showed the greatest achievements in terms of fundamentally changing the nature of their business and/or industry.
Plenty of Procurement team man-hours go toward tactical execution – there’s a lot that needs to be done to keep the trains running each day. However, Procurement pros are in a unique position to become higher-level strategists within their organization, guiding business forward. To take this position, Procurement teams need to become agents of change.
The Law of Life
Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I don’t usually kick off an article with a quote, but this one speaks too well to the reasons for becoming a change agent (and the risks of not doing so). Our competitors grow and evolve. One of the great killers of an established market player is the inability to keep up. I’m not saying anything new here, and the change-or-die edict is nearly cliché these days. So why are so many companies bad at shaking things up? More to the point, how is Procurement supposed to be the catalyst here?
The answer to the first question can be boiled down to a simple answer: Companies are bad at change because change is risky, expensive and time-consuming. The bigger the company, the heavier the lift. And, hey, all of our success came from doing things the way we did them last month, last year. Change introduces an unknown variable.
The second question requires a little digging.
Brian Seipel, Consultant and Spend Analysis Practice Lead, at Source One, a Corcentric company
If you’re looking for an excuse to escape the summer heat, SIG has some ways to help you bide the time inside with video-based learning, industry research, webinars and Career Network updates.
There’s still time to enroll in one of SIG University’s certification programs that can be completed on-demand in five, eight or 12 weeks. Our certification courses will expose your team to leading-edge training in strategic sourcing, third party risk and supplier relationship management. SIG University faculty are practitioners who hold senior leadership positions in the sourcing space and the courses are structured for a variety of learning styles.
To enroll yourself or your team, download the course catalog to get started.
For 14 years, Zycus and Ardent Partners have captured the experiences, performances, perspectives and intentions of procurement executives. This report includes benchmark statistics, analysis and recommendations that procurement teams can use to better understand the state of procurement today, gain insight into best practices, benchmark their performance, and improve their operations and performance.
In the global supply chain landscape, cybersecurity threats are increasing exponentially. Fortune 500 companies’ sensitive information is leaked because hackers target their vendors and business partners, and organizations that might not be as secure as their corporate buyers. Every supplier and business partner can become an added risk. Working with global companies big and small, one of the most significant opportunities that I've observed is managing multi-tier suppliers and mitigating risk. We can support all our suppliers through secured technology and the principle of “unconditional procurement.”
Daryl Hammett, CSMP, CSP, C3PRMP, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer, ConnXus
With the evolution of procurement and the shift from a reactive, “three-bid-and-buy” scenario to more advanced means of sourcing, Category Management often is a concept best placed at the latter end of the spectrum. This makes sense because if you still quote products and services on an as-needed basis, you likely haven’t introduced the concept of collectively sourcing all spend within the category or subcategory. That reactionary approach may be the result of several things -- lack of support from the business, a misunderstanding of Procurement’s role, an inadequate process or workflow, or a combination of all of the above.
On the other side, many organizations have Category Management structures in place, or at least claim to. From my experience, an organization saying it has a framework for Category Management and an organization actually having such a framework are two very different things. More often than not, organizations will either employ a homegrown version of the methodology or leverage something that’s really not like Category Management at all.
Category Management can be approached differently based on several factors, including the industry you are in, whether you are service or product focused, what model of procurement you apply (centralized, decentralized, or center led), what drives the most spend in the organization and so on. As a result, I don’t think there is a strict rulebook on how to apply Category Management to your business.
While no two organizations will approach Category Management the same, these best practices should help any organization ensure their unique methodology is effective.
Jennifer Ulrich, Associate Director, Source One, a Corcentric Company
Shirley is a Vice President on the Business Process Services team with Everest Group. In this role, she advises senior stakeholders of global services including enterprises, service providers and investors in their strategic mandates and initiatives. She shares her take on the digital transformation – what companies need to do to stay relevant and the trends she’s seeing in the market and the industry. Shirley will share her expertise on this topic at the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Eventin March and the Eastern Regional SIGnature Event in September.
Your presentation at the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event is about buying digital services for your enterprise--why is this such an important topic?
Digital transformation is impacting entire business value chains. Companies that do not have a plan to migrate from traditional models to focus on digitally led solutions will become irrelevant and obsolete. How organizations approach the building of their digital capabilities can result in real market differentiation, and a large part of that strategy depends on how they partner with global service providers and vendors.
The swift evolution of the digital landscape means procurement and sourcing teams must understand the implications of buying digital services so they can support their business and functional customers in obtaining the best outcomes from their digital strategies.
Innovation and transformation were dominant themes in the industry in 2018, so it only makes sense to move forward with those concepts in 2019. This month, SIG presents a new events format to help your team cultivate innovation and foster teamwork throughout 2019, enrollment is open for SIG University’s online certification programs and we have two new webinars that will help jumpstart your 2019 goals.
Save the Date for These 2019 Events
After feedback from the SIG Advisory Board, event attendees and our delegates, this year’s SIG events will follow a new format to give you and your team a fresh perspective and space to develop new strategies.
The most transformative change is the Regional SIGnature Events, which are one-day events for executives and their teams to network, swap ideas, engage in interactive discussions, participate in training workshops, and learn from industry analysts and experts who promote innovation and work to solve key challenges in the industry. Separate, concurrent roundtables for executive-level and delegate-level attendees will put you and your team in the company of peers from that region’s Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies.
Mark your calendar for these events that break the cycle of dry, traditional training and will get your team excited and engaged.
“It’s not just about cost savings--which was the traditional mindset of the Procurement function. It's about continually improving and re-evaluating how we’re buying to make sure we’re getting the best business outcomes.” - Neil Aronson, Head of Global Strategic Sourcing for Uber
Across all industries, margin and growth pressures are heating up. By 2021, 55 percent of technology procurement staff will require additional digital and analytical skills to enable their desired business outcomes (Gartner 2017). To succeed in this environment, CPOs must focus on closely aligning their team’s strategy and objectives with broader company goals. That requires changing the way their procurement and sourcing teams operate.
Changes of this nature call for a clear blueprint for transformation. And it starts with taking a closer look into current Procurement processes--and determining how success is being measured. A key insight: when organizations evolve alongside new technologies and market trends, so must the metrics needed to track performance.
Evolving Beyond Cost Savings to Accelerate Change
Historically, Procurement and Sourcing teams have been accountable for cost savings as the ultimate measure of success.
But as teams look to transform, they need to reshape their success metrics to chart a path forward. While anecdotal and periodic measurements are helpful, they are forgotten without a consistent stream of key performance indicators (KPIs) to indicate the overall direction of progress.
Stan Garber, President and Co-Founder at Scout RFP